John Bew - Author

About the Author

John Bew is Reader in History and Foreign Policy at the War Studies Department at King's College London and Director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence. In 2013 he became the Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Library of Congress. From 2007-10, Bew was Lecturer in Modern British History, at Cambridge University, where he was also educated. He is currently writing a biography of Clement Attlee and a brief history of Realpolitik. He lives in London.

Featured books by John Bew

Castlereagh The Biography of a Statesman

Castlereagh The Biography of a Statesman

Author: John Bew Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/07/2014

Damned in coruscating verse by Shelley and Byron, his coffin hissed at during his funeral, Lord Castlereagh has one of the blackest reputations in British history. But as John Bew shows, this is but a half-drawn portrait. His gripping biography reveals a shy, inarticulate but passionate man; a towering political figure of implacable principles who redrew the map of Europe, fought a duel with a cabinet colleague and would tragically take his own life amid rumours of scandal and madness.

Other books by John Bew

Realpolitik A History

Realpolitik A History

Author: John Bew Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/05/2018

Since its coinage in mid-19th century Germany, Realpolitik has proven both elusive and protean. To some, it represents the best approach to meaningful change and political stability in a world buffeted by uncertainty and rapid transformation. To others, it encapsulates an attitude of cynicism and cold calculation, a transparently self-justifying policy exercised by dominant nations over weaker. Remolded across generations and presupposed to its political and ideological moment, Realpolitik remains a touchstone for discussion about statecraft and diplomacy. It is a freighted concept. Historian John Bew explores the genesis of Realpolitik, tracing its longstanding and enduring relevance in political and foreign policy debates. Bew's book uncovers the context that gave birth to Realpolitik-that of the fervor of radical change in 1848 in Europe. He explains its application in the conduct of foreign policy from the days of Bismarck onward. Lastly, he illuminates its translation from German into English, one that reveals the uniquely Anglo-American version of realpolitik-small r -being practiced today, a modern iteration that attempts to reconcile idealism with the pursuit of national interests. Lively, encyclopedic, and utterly original, Realpolitik: A History illuminates the life and times of a term that has shaped and will continue to shape international relations.

Citizen Clem A Biography of Attlee: Winner of the Orwell Prize

Citizen Clem A Biography of Attlee: Winner of the Orwell Prize

Author: John Bew Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/09/2017

**WINNER OF THE ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL WRITING** **WINNER OF THE ELIZABETH LONGFORD PRIZE FOR HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHY** *Book of the year: The Times, Sunday Times, New Statesman, Spectator, Evening Standard* 'Outstanding . . . We still live in the society that was shaped by Clement Attlee' Robert Harris, Sunday Times 'The best book in the field of British politics' Philip Collins, The Times 'Easily the best single-volume, cradle-to-grave life of Clement Attlee yet written' Andrew Roberts Clement Attlee was the Labour prime minister who presided over Britain's radical postwar government, delivering the end of the Empire in India, the foundation of the NHS and Britain's place in NATO. Called 'a sheep in sheep's clothing', his reputation has long been that of an unassuming character in the shadow of Churchill. But as John Bew's revelatory biography shows, Attlee was not only a hero of his age, but an emblem of it; and his life tells the story of how Britain changed over the twentieth century. Here, Bew pierces Attlee's reticence to examine the intellect and beliefs of Britain's greatest - and least appreciated - peacetime prime minister. This edition includes a new preface by the author in response to the 2017 general election.

Citizen Clem A Biography of Attlee: Winner of the Orwell Prize

Citizen Clem A Biography of Attlee: Winner of the Orwell Prize

Author: John Bew Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/09/2016

**WINNER OF THE ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL WRITING** **WINNER OF THE ELIZABETH LONGFORD PRIZE FOR HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHY** *Book of the year: The Times, Sunday Times, New Statesman, Spectator, Evening Standard* 'Outstanding . . . We still live in the society that was shaped by Clement Attlee' Robert Harris, Sunday Times 'The best book in the field of British politics' Philip Collins, The Times 'Easily the best single-volume, cradle-to-grave life of Clement Attlee yet written' Andrew Roberts Clement Attlee was the Labour prime minister who presided over Britain's radical postwar government, delivering the end of the Empire in India, the foundation of the NHS and Britain's place in NATO. Called 'a sheep in sheep's clothing', his reputation has long been that of an unassuming character in the shadow of Churchill. But as John Bew's revelatory biography shows, Attlee was not only a hero of his age, but an emblem of it; and his life tells the story of how Britain changed over the twentieth century. Here, Bew pierces Attlee's reticence to examine the intellect and beliefs of Britain's greatest - and least appreciated - peacetime prime minister.

Realpolitik A History

Realpolitik A History

Author: John Bew Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/12/2015

Realpolitik is approaching its 160th birthday, though it has existed as a form of statecraft for centuries and is arguably as old as the conduct of foreign affairs itself. Associated with great thinkers from Machiavelli to Kissinger, it is deeply rooted in the history of diplomacy yet also remains strikingly relevant to debates on contemporary foreign policy in the Obama administration today. Despite the fact that Realpolitik has had something of a renaissance in recent years, however, it remains a surprisingly elusive notion, defying easy categorization. In this concise book, John Bew aims to address this gap, offering a history of the concept of Realpolitik in the English-speaking world: its origins as an idea; its practical application to statecraft in the recent past; and its relevance to the foreign policy challenges facing the United States and its allies in the future. Now most often associated with the conduct of foreign policy, Realpolitik has traditionally had pejorative connotations in the English-speaking world and sits uneasily alongside notions of enlightenment, morality and virtue. But it has also had its defenders, admirers and exponents, who regard it as the best tool for the successful wielding of political power and the preservation of global order. As such, Realpolitik has both successes and failures to its name, as Bew's comprehensive and even-handed overview displays. Bew begins by charting the evolution of the idea through the work of important thinkers or statesmen from Machiavelli, Cardinal de Richelieu, and Thomas Hobbes up through Carl Schmitt, Kissinger, and Dennis Ross. He then examines how Realpolitik has been evoked and operationalized in US and UK foreign policy during specific episodes in the twentieth century, looking at such cases as the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953, and President Nixon's visit to the People's Republic of China in 1972 - often taken as the archetypal instance of Realpolitik in action. Bew then uses this historical platform to look forward to emerging foreign policy challenges in a changing, multi-polar, geo-political scene - in which Realpolitik and agile statecraft seems as important as ever. Suggesting that there is a uniquely Anglo-American version of Realpolitik, which reflects an attempt (not always a successful one) to reconcile Western ideological and moral norms with purely utilitarian conceptions of the national interest, Bew argues that a more accurate and sustainable version of Anglo-American Realpolitik is one that recognizes the draw Enlightenment values and ideas. Directed at a broader audience of current policy-makers, legislators and commentators with an interest in foreign affairs, this is a brilliant introduction to an important topic from one of the field's rising stars.

Castlereagh The Biography of a Statesman

Castlereagh The Biography of a Statesman

Author: John Bew Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/07/2014

Damned in coruscating verse by Shelley and Byron, his coffin hissed at during his funeral, Lord Castlereagh has one of the blackest reputations in British history. But as John Bew shows, this is but a half-drawn portrait. His gripping biography reveals a shy, inarticulate but passionate man; a towering political figure of implacable principles who redrew the map of Europe, fought a duel with a cabinet colleague and would tragically take his own life amid rumours of scandal and madness.

Talking to Terrorists Making Peace in Northern Ireland and the Basque Country

Talking to Terrorists Making Peace in Northern Ireland and the Basque Country

Author: John Bew, Martyn Frampton, Inigo Gurruchaga Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/05/2009

The peace agreement in Northern Ireland has been held up as a beacon for conflict resolution around the world. The lessons of Ulster have been applied by prime ministers, presidents, diplomats and intelligence agents to many areas of violent conflict, from Spain to Sri Lanka, from Afghanistan to Iraq and, frequently, the Israel-Palestine crisis. From Belfast to Basra, the notion that it is necessary to engage in dialogue with one's enemies has been fetishised across the political spectrum. Talking to terrorists is a necessary pre-requisite to peace, it is argued, and governments should avoid rigid pre-conditions in their attempt to bring in the extremes. But does this understanding really reflect what happened in Northern Ireland? Moreover, does it apply to other areas where democratic governments face threats from terrorist organisations, such as in the Basque region of northern Spain? In challenging this notion, the authors offer an analytical history of the transition from war to peace in Northern Ireland, and compare the violent conflict in the Basque country over the same period, demonstrating how events there have developed very differently than the advocates of 'the Northern Ireland model' might presume. The authors recognise that governments have often talked to terrorists and will continue to do so in the future. But they argue that what really matters is not the act of talking to terrorists itself but a range of other variables including the role of state actors, intelligence agencies, hard power and the wider democratic process. Above all, there is a crucial difference between talking to terrorists who believe that their strategy is succeeding and those who have been made to realise that their aims are unattainable by violence.

Talking to Terrorists Making Peace in Northern Ireland and the Basque Country

Talking to Terrorists Making Peace in Northern Ireland and the Basque Country

Author: John Bew, Martyn Frampton, Inigo Gurruchaga Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/05/2009

The peace agreement in Northern Ireland has been held up as a beacon for conflict resolution around the world. The lessons of Ulster have been applied by prime ministers, presidents, diplomats and intelligence agents to many areas of violent conflict, from Spain to Sri Lanka, from Afghanistan to Iraq and, frequently, the Israel-Palestine crisis. From Belfast to Basra, the notion that it is necessary to engage in dialogue with one's enemies has been fetishised across the political spectrum. Talking to terrorists is a necessary pre-requisite to peace, it is argued, and governments should avoid rigid pre-conditions in their attempt to bring in the extremes. But does this understanding really reflect what happened in Northern Ireland? Moreover, does it apply to other areas where democratic governments face threats from terrorist organisations, such as in the Basque region of northern Spain? In challenging this notion, the authors offer an analytical history of the transition from war to peace in Northern Ireland, and compare the violent conflict in the Basque country over the same period, demonstrating how events there have developed very differently than the advocates of 'the Northern Ireland model' might presume. The authors recognise that governments have often talked to terrorists and will continue to do so in the future. But they argue that what really matters is not the act of talking to terrorists itself but a range of other variables including the role of state actors, intelligence agencies, hard power and the wider democratic process. Above all, there is a crucial difference between talking to terrorists who believe that their strategy is succeeding and those who have been made to realise that their aims are unattainable by violence.

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